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Trump Administration
  This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  March 5, 2017 8:08am-8:18am PST

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before cameras to explain what the president meant, until now. let's bring in live white house spokesperson sarah huckabee sanders. thank you for joining us. >> good morning. >> these are extremely serious charges the president is making. where is he getting this information? >> look, i think there have been quite a few reports. i know that jonathan and others earlier in the program mentioned that that it was all conservative media. that's not true. "the new york times" and bbc talked about the potential of this having happened. the bigger thing is, let's find out. if they're going to investigation russia ties, let's include this as part of it. that's what we're asking. >> was the principal source the breitbart story, which links to "the new york times." but "the new york times" doesn't say anything definitive. donald trump does. there's nothing equivocating about what he says. i just found out that obama had my wires tapped.
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that's not looking into something. he says it happened. >> look, i think the bigger thing is you guys are always telling us to take the media seriously. well, we are today. we're taking the reports that places like "the new york times," fox news, bbc, multiple outlets have reported this. all we're saying is, let's take a closer look. let's look into this. if it happened, if this is accurate. this is the biggest overreach. the biggest scandal. >> you're not saying let's look into this. the president of the united states is accusing the former president of wiretapping him. >> i think that this is again, something that if this happened, martha. >> if, if, if, if. >> i agree. >> why is the president saying it did happen? >> look, i think he's going off of information that he has seen that has led him to believe that this is a very real potential. if it is, this is the greatest overreach in the greatest abuse of power that i think we have ever seen and a huge attack on democracy itself. and the american people have a right to know if this took place. >> okay.
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the president tissue -- let me say again, the president said this did take place. why does he believe these articles that you say you cite and i'm saying, they are not definitive. the breitbart brings them all together. and heat street. they have two sources with links to the counterintelligence community. that's it. anonymous sources. the president constantly says he doesn't like anonymous sources. and he doesn't like leakers. >> i love how anonymous sources don't count when it's something that's positive in this administration and against the former one. you guys use anonymous sources every single day. >> is that the bar? but it is the president -- yes, yes, we do. yes, we do. but the president believe this is -- but what's the bar there? what does the president believe? >> look, i think he's made very clear what he believes. he's asking that we get down to the bottom of this. let's get the truth here. let's find out. i think the bigger story is not
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who reported it but is it true? i think the american people have a right to know if this happened. because if it did, again this is the largest abuse of power that i think we've ever seen. >> okay. let me just say one more time. the president said, i bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that president obama was tapping my phones in october. so the president believes it is true? >> i would say that his tweet speaks for itself there. ? "the washington post" says this morning that senior u.s. officials with knowledge of wide-ranging federal investigation into russian interference into the election said there had been no wiretap. >> they've also said there's no evidence of any wrongdoing by the trump administration, or the trump campaign in coordination. but that doesn't seem to matter to the media. that point gets continued to be ignored over and over again. we have been on this for six months. you guys continue to ignore that and continue to bring up the investigation. all we're asking is that we have
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the same level of look into the potential that the obama administration wiretapped trump tower. >> the obama -- president obama, through a spokesman, denied any direct involvement. does president trump not believe him? >> i think they don't have the best track record. they say they had a cardinal rule. well, frankly, that's just not true. the president himself got directly involved in the e-mail scandal with hillary clinton. >> you don't believe him when he says that doesn't happen? >> the attorney general met privately and secretly with bill clinton during the middle of the investigation. so to pretend like this is a very clean and credible source, i'm just not buying it. >> do you believe there was a fisa order? even if president obama didn't order it? >> i think there certainly could have been. it sounds like there's something we should look into and verify. >> is the trump administration -- >> that's above my pay grade. i think that that's something
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that white house counsel would have to answer. we owe to it the american people to look into it. >> if there was an order, there would have to be probable cause shown before it was granted. evidence of wrongdoing. so suspect the president, by saying, this, indeed, happened, confirming that the investigation had enough evidence to get a fisa order? >> i'm not sure if they can create wrongdoing. they've been trying to make the case for it. the fbi says this is b.s. the house intelligence chair says there's no evidence of it. but i don't know that that -- would indicate that intelligence services wouldn't have attempted to see if there was something at that point in october. >> and a fisa court-ordered wiretap is highly classified information. why is it acceptable for the president to tweet something like that out? >> i don't think he's tweeting out classified information. he's talking about, could this have happened? did this happen? >> once again, he said it did happen. >> everybody acts like president
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trump is the one that came up with the idea and threw it out there. there are multiple news outlets that have reported this. all we're asking is that we get the same level of look into the obama administration and the potential that they had for a complete abuse of power that they've been claiming that we have done over the last six months. and time and time again, it's been said, there's no evidence there was wrongdoing. the fbi says this is b.s. yet you guys continue to hammer and hammer some false idea and false narrative that there's something there when frankly, there just isn't. >> i want to say donald trump started this on saturday morning. talking about this. >> i hardly say he started this when there were multiple news reports. >> many months ago, president trump has consistently complained about leakers. if these stories are true, if heat street has two sources, they say are linked to counterintelligence, are you going to go after those leakers? >> look, we take every leak seriously in the white house.
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whether it is something that helps us or not. we cannot have people leaking classified information at any level. and we certainly take that very seriously and would not ignore that. >> have you ever heard these allegations from the president before? >> i have not had a conversation with him about these personally before. >> had anyone? had he consulted anyone before he tweeted that he was going to put these explosive allegations out? >> i can't speak 100% whether he did or not. i'm not sure. >> couldn't the president declassify these things if he wanted to? >> you know, i don't think that's necessary. i think what is necessary is congress doing its job. let them investigate this. let them do exactly what they've done on our end and see whether there's something there. i think there is a lot of reporting that indicates there certainly is. >> do you think there should be a special prosecutor to look at this? >> i don't think we're there yet. i think we need to let congress do their job. i think that's where we need to start.
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again, i think that's the first place to go. and we see what happens from there. >> can you tell us anything about the meeting that president trump had last night with attorney general jeff sessions? did they meet? >> i believe they had dinner, yes. they did. >> and the subject? >> look, he's the attorney general of the united states. um -- >> who recused himself this week. >> he's one of the cabinet members for the president. we have a lot of activity ongoing. potential for an e.o. coming out at some point that would certainly involve the attorney general. i would imagine that came up during dinner. >> does the president still believe attorney general jeff sessions should not have recused himself? >> the president believes jeff sessions is a good man and that he didn't do anything wrong. so i certainly feel that he didn't feel it was necessary. but he also is very supportive of the attorney general. >> and did the white house ask attorney general sessions specifically not to recuse himself? >> look, the white house was not
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involved in the details of, you know, what that decision process looked like. i know the attorney general met with the ethics counsel at the department of justice. he made that decision not by direction of the white house. >> i just want to go back again, to the president's tweet. one more time. and sean spicer tweeting today. reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigation immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling. sounds like the white house is doubling down on what president trump says happened. >> as we should, martha. if this happened, once again, this would be the greatest abuse of power and overreach that has probably ever occurred in the executive branch. >> what about the accusation? you keep saying, if, if, if. the president of the united states said it was a fact. he didn't say, i read a story in breitbart or "the new york times" or wherever else.
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he said, just found out that obama had my wires tapped in trump tower. that's not an if. >> look, i -- i will let the president speak for himself. but in terms of where we are in the white house, our ask -- >> you're his spokesperson. >> and i'm speaking about it right now. >> but you're backing off of it. you're backing off of it. >> how am i backing off of it? while i'm saying that i think this happened -- >> because you're saying if. >> i think the american people have the right to know. i think we should get definitive answers. i think we need to put out hard facts that show that this happened. >> that's what president trump was clearly doing in those tweets. thank you very much for join